SOURCE: Twenty First Century Communications

August 12, 2008 12:55 ET

TFCC First to Host Emergency Notification System That Quickly Reaches Hearing Impaired

"Every Second Counts" Says L.A. Department of Disability's Richard Ray

COLUMBUS, OH--(Marketwire - August 12, 2008) - A series of tests by Twenty First Century Communications (TFCC) has confirmed that they are the first and only major hosted (Software as a Service, or SaaS) emergency notification vendor to provide true TDD/TTY delivery of emergency notification and messages without pre-registration.

TFCC engineers worked with Richard Ray, Deaf Services Coordinator of the Los Angeles Department on Disability, Disability Access and Services, and Donna Platt of the Hearing, Speech and Deafness Center.

Mr. Ray explains, "Warnings could be delivered to TTY of disasters such as hazardous accidents or spills, weather-related events, hostage situations, fires, and other public safety threats. Such messages would help save the lives of people who are deaf, deaf-blind, hard of hearing, or have a speech disability. In addition, these individuals could help and save other people who may not have a disability if they are aware of the disasters. Time delay in receiving messages increases stress and problems with evacuation and/or threatens their well-being. Each second counts!"

Reaching these populations with parity is still a problem for many emergency notification systems that cannot detect TTY and require people to register. These impose problems and do not address the needs of TTY users. They are not 'functionally equivalent,' because TTY users must register their number to receive notification or warning messages via TTY, whereas voice land-line users are not required to register to receive such notices.

How does true TTY delivery help government agencies? "It reduces liability risk for non-compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, stating that State, County and City must assure that their programs and services are accessible to individuals with disabilities. Once again it would reduce injuries and deaths as well as danger in evacuation if notified ahead of time," Ray asserts.

Ray's role has been to provide Twenty First Century support, education and recommendation for modifications to software and procedure to ensure that the TFCC's Universal Communications System functions properly to allow TTY users to receive the same messages as voice land-line users.

To learn more about needs of the hearing impaired, visit the Americans with Disabilities Act website at http://www.ada.gov or the Disability Preparedness Resource Center at http://www.disabilitypreparedness.gov.

About the Consultants

Richard Ray and Donna Platt are Chair and Vice Chair of the NENA Accessibility Committee. NENA's mission is to foster the technological advancement, availability and implementation of a universal emergency telephone number system (9-1-1). A current Accessibility Committee topic is Mass Emergency Notification.

About TFCC

Founded in 1989, Twenty First Century Communications is the national leader in crisis communications. TFCC provides urgent high-speed, high-volume telecommunications solutions, powered by the largest and fastest telecom network in North America. Twenty First Century serves hundreds of organizations nationwide, from federal, state and local governments to public utilities and corporations. For more information, visit http://www.tfcci.com.

Contact Information